The teaching of the basic skills in Philippine Martial Arts are traditionally simplified. With limited time to teach flashy and intricate techniques, only skills that were proven effective in battle and could easily be taught in mass were used. This allowed villagers, generally not professional soldiers, a measure of protection against other villages, as well as foreign invaders.
This philosophy of simplicity is still used today and is the underlying base of the Philippine Martial Arts. Because of this approach, the Philippine Martial Arts are often mistakenly considered to be "simple" fighting arts. However, this refers only to its systematization, not effectiveness. To the contrary, beyond the basic skills lies a very complex structure and a refined skill set that takes years to master.
In history, Kali/Eskrima/Arnis, has been noted as systems used in combat since the early years of exploration. The Spanish conquistador Ferdinand Magellan was said to have been slain on the shores of Mactan Island in the Philippines by a Kali/Eskrima/Arnis practitioner named Datu Lapu-Lapu. When the Spanish eventually took over the Philippines, the fighting arts went into hiding with its arts embedded into folk dancing and music. Often depicted in "Laro" or plays. During World War II Kali/Eskrima/Arnis resurfaced in the fight against Japanese occupation in which a noted Philippine infantry wielding machetes called "Bolo Men" trained and assisted US Infantry to defend the Philippines.
During the migration of Philippine laborers over to the US, many humble practitioners reached the shores of Hawaii and California. Those practitioners eventually came in contact with other practitioners of other fighting styles such as boxing in which finding the influence of Kali/Eskrima/Arnis in many of today's Martial Arts is not uncommon. Most recently Kali/Eskrima/Arnis again has made an appearance in cinema such as the Bourne Identity movies and in television documentaries on Discovery Channel.
The Philippine martial arts of Kali/Eskrima/Arnis is a great way to learn multiple real world defense techniques. This is a warrior art developed over time through generations of battle techniques by the Philippine people, as well as influences from other Southeast Asian martial art systems. Unlike other fighting systems in which weapons training is secondary, Kali/Eskrima/Arnis teaches weapon applications first that can be later translated to the empty hand version. Through the classes the student will develop understanding of multiple weapon handling and characteristics along with practical control under a defensive condition.
The best way to defend against a weapon is to know how it can be used. Classes cover footwork, striking, trapping, disarms, single/double weapons, impact weapons, blades and empty hand techniques.
Kali/Arnis/Eskrima teaches coordination, dexterity and lightning fast reflexes when practiced. Plus it's a great exercise for the mind, body and soul. Since most classes involve the student to be partnered with another student, it's a great way to meet new and interesting friends.